From the KnowledgeBase

Title:
Collaboration Tools at Princeton: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Synopsis:
Collaborative software is designed to facilitate and support the sharing of information and communication of ideas among people working towards a common goal. This type of online cooperative environment encourages workgroup support for the flow of information, sharing of tasks, calendars, and document management. Ultimately this software promotes group productivity and helps organizations achieve their goals more efficiently.


Solution:

Collaborative software is the basis for computer supported cooperative work. These technologies reduce the barriers to participation and increase the efficiency with which information can be produced, exchanged, and recorded. The University will soon make available a set of collaborative tools, and you will need to determine which solution is best suited to the needs and the desires of your organization. OIT can provide guidance and technical support to make sure that electronic collaboration is successfully deployed for your group.

Why use WebSpace or SharePoint?

  • To provide a place to centralize and record threads of communication, documentation, and other files.
  • To collaborate on and collect a single instance of your records.

Below find information regarding two software services currently being evaluated by OIT with the help of "early adopters." OIT can assist you in identifying the most appropriate tool(s) and services to meet your specific needs. To discuss the needs of your department/organization for online collaboration, please contact Mark Ratliff, Princeton Digital Repository Architect, at ratliff@princeton.edu.

Microsoft SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint is an enterprise collaboration environment that can be used for website creation, document sharing, group discussions, blogging, calendaring, and wikis.

SharePoint is integrated with Microsoft Office on the Windows operating system and is therefore a good fit for Microsoft "shops" on campus with users who primarily use Windows and Microsoft Office applications. This environment is most appropriate for administrative staff and faculty interested in tracking tasks, calendaring events, reviewing and tracking changes of shared documents, and the use of change management methodologies. Team oriented project work would be the typical implementation for this collaborative solution.

At this time, OIT is developing a process which will allow departments to:

  • request a collaborative workspace
  • attend training on how to manage workspaces
  • request assistance from an OIT support group

For more information on SharePoint at Princeton, see: kb.princeton.edu/9901. To log in to SharePoint, go to: sp.princeton.edu.

WebSpace (Xythos)

WebSpace is a web-based system for file management and sharing. The WebSpace collaboration environment is the appropriate choice if you are interested in providing your colleagues with remote access to files you wish to share, linking your files with Blackboard, or exchanging files among students in a class.

WebSpace is designed to work with the web browsers and BlackBoard tools that students and faculty already know, saving them from having to learn new applications. The interface is accessible to both Mac and Windows computers. With WebSpace, students can securely share drafts with other classmates and faculty, review documents, read comments, and establish project areas. WebSpace can be used as a replacement for the Blackboard Content Collection, through a tool called FileBridge, to share files with members of course sites. WebSpace is also appropriate for collaboration on research and grant projects with colleagues outside of the University.

For more information on WebSpace at Princeton, see: http://www.princeton.edu/as/webspace.shtml

Which one is right for your use?

Use the table below to compare the two technologies and the characteristics of each.

  • WebSpace is primarily for managing and collaborating with files.
  • SharePoint is primarily for team communication via a website with useful widgets including discussion boards, calendars, and document libraries.

For More Information....

OIT can assist you in identifying the most appropriate tool(s) and services to meet your specific needs. Departments looking to launch an online collaborative environment for faculty, staff, and students should contact Mark Ratliff, Princeton Digital Repository Architect, at ratliff@princeton.edu.

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Last Updated:
January 29, 2013

Solution ID:
9905